Friday, May 29, 2009

Poe Street

I must be honest--I didn't even know Chicago had a street named after Edgar Allan Poe until I stumbled across it on the way to the Wolf Camera on Clybourn Avenue.

It's on the way home--well, sort of--and since Wolf/Ritz closed their Loop location, it's the most convenient location for me to go to for burning my CDs and getting my photography blown up for those occasions when I actually make a sale. (In this economy, those occasions are fewer and farther between than they used to be, but I still have a couple of friends whose apartments contain virtual galleries of my work.)

You'd think one of the greatest American writers would merit something more than a truncated, jagged afterthought--Poe Street runs barely a full block and occupies space that would otherwise be an alley--and other famous writers like Dickens and Shakespeare have proper sidestreets bearing their names.

I suppose, however, that it's better than not being remembered at all.

Office Talk

ME: "Urrrrr."

CO-WORKER # 1: "What's wrong."

ME: "Hung over. Didn't even drink that much, but had Thai food after."

CO-WORKER #1: "That food is good."

ME: "Yes, it was. Not so much for drinking, though."

CO-WORKER #1: "Last night, I drank sangria from a glass jar."

ME: "Did you eat the fruit at the bottom?"

CO-WORKER #1: "I'm half-Spanish. I know better."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

There Go the Hawks, the Mighty Blaaaaackhawks

Hockey season is officially over in Chicago.

Considering, however, that it's been a very long time since hockey season even mattered in Chicago, one must give credit where it is most certainly due. The Blackhawks, a mostly young and inexperienced team, wasn't expected to go this far--all the way to the conference finals for the first time in over a decade--and, with the exception of Game 4, in which the much-despised Detroit Red Wings slapped the snot out of the Hawks 6-1, this was an exciting series to watch, with three of the five games going to overtime, including last night's loss.

(I was at Mom's house for dinner last night, and we watched most of the back half of Game 5, including both goals scored in regulation and the amazing save by Hawks goalie Cristobal Huet, who blocked a Red Wings shot with the blade of his right skate why lying on his "tummy"--yes, the announcer for Versus, presumably an adult talking to adults, actually used the word "tummy" to describe the action.)

And, given the relative youth of the current squad--the team captain is only 21--the Blackhawks should be a force in the NHL for years to come.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Every Picture Tells a Story: Prologue

OK. I admit it. I've been bad about posting updates to the bloggity this month.

There are plenty of reasons--excuses, really--for my absence: Busy at work, birthday malaise, general lack of things to say, blee blee, blah blah. I have, however, kept up with taking pictures on the side, even if I haven't been posting them here.

This, dear reader, is to your benefit--or, more accurately, it will be.

I've decided that, for the month of June, I will post at least one photo a day. Most of the pictures will be in color and from the last year and a half--not so coincidentally, the very same amount of time that I've had my little Kodak digital camera. I will, however, still sneak some of my favorite black & white images in as well.

So drop by every day starting next Monday--you never know what you'll see.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Office Talk

COWORKER #1: "[Coworker #2] is leaving us for two weeks!"

ME (to Coworker #2): "Where are you going for two weeks?"

COWORKER # 2: "Vacation."

ME: "Where?"

COWORKER # 2: "Texas."

ME: "That's not a vacation. That's a sentence."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Taxing Issue: Update

Please remember these names: William Beavers. Jerry Butler. Joseph Mario Moreno. Deborah Sims. Earlean Collins. Robert Steele.

There are the Cook County Commissioners who either voted against overriding Country Board President Todd Stroger's veto of the repeal of the 1% increase in the county sales tax--a repeal voted for by 12 out of the 15 County Commissioners present at the previous board meeting--or who merely voted "present." (If you're not going to vote on a highly controversial matter such as this, why bother showing up at all? Stay home. Do some yard work. Go grocery shopping. Any of these would be more useful than voting "present.")

By upholding President Stroger's veto, these six commissioners have voted to uphold the wasteful, bloated government Stroger has presided since being elected in 2006--a government Stroger promised to trim of waste and bloat during his election campaign, but has refused to touch in any meaningful way since, instead hiring relatives and friends for high-paying county jobs at a time when increasing numbers of his constituents are out of work.

They have voted to uphold the economic burden this tax places on their communities, many of which are poor and lack the resources (transportation to other counties/states or Internet access) to work around this odious tax.

They have voted in favor of fiscal and political irresponsibility of the highest (or lowest, depending on your perspective) order.

They have voted to keep stealing dollars from their constituents, making sizable piles out of said dollars and burning them as often as please without even a hint of consequence or responsibility.

Look at those names again: William Beavers. Jerry Butler. Joseph Mario Moreno. Deborah Sims. Earlean Collins. Robert Steele.

Remember them. And, when they come up for re-election next year? If you should happen to live in a district represented by one of these "public servants," please engage in an act of genuine public service and vote them out of office.

If they won't act responsibly, we, the voters of Cook County, must act responsibly in their stead.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Comedy Stylings of Richard M. Daley

At a news conference today, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley was asked why he was not actively supporting the efforts of Illinois state legislators to pass stronger ethics legislation in the wake of the inditement of now-former Governor Rod Blagojevich.

This was Daley's response:

We've done everything here. We're leading the way with our inspector general, office of compliance, all the things we've done. We're more transparent than any other government. Look at it. We're doing a tremendous job here, we lead by example.

He was being funny, right?

It's not remotely possible that Richard M. Daley--the chief executive in charge of a city administration that had yielded numerous corruption convictions and insider deals--could have made the statement above with a straight face. He must have giggled when he said it. Or smirked, at least.

I mean, he couldn't possibly have meant for us to take him seriously...right?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Spring in the Air (and Other Places)

What I love about spring in Chicago:

The dark, gnarled trees of March and April suddenly explode with blossoms of green and pink and white, turning an overcast world into one shaded with color and alive with fragrance.

What I hate about spring in Chicago:

All the fine young women of our fair city, previously cloaked in multiple layers through the long fall and longer winter months, now are adorned in short sleeves and frequent smiles. The train ride to work this a.m. was nearly unbearable, featuring as it did a redhead who looked like Molly Ringwald, a blonde who looked like Hillary Scott and a brunette who looked like a pre-extreme-weight-loss Lara Flynn Boyle.

I liked it far better when I couldn't see what I was missing.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Taxing Issue

Last year, the county I live in, at the urging of its board president, Todd Stroger, raised its sales tax so much that Chicago now has the highest sales tax in the whole friggin' country. This lead me, like many other Cook County residents to do even more of their shopping online or out of state.

Last week, the county board voted overwhelmingly (12-3) to repeal the tax increase. At first, Stroger said he would veto the repeal, then, when public sentiment appeared to be overwhelmingly in favor of the repeal, seemed to waffle on the point.

Today, Todd Stroger announced that he would indeed veto the repeal of the sales tax.

Today, Todd Stroger's reelection chances went from "slim" to "none."

Monday, May 4, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday is Bring Your 8th Wonder of the World to Work Day

This coming Monday, May 4, is my birthday. While I'm not feeling especially celebratory this year--one of those "how ther hell did I wind up here?" kind of deals--I'm not past buying something for myself.

This year, that "something" wound up being something out of the ordinary, and yet quite fitting for me.

One of my coworkers, who knows of my loves for both classic cinema and action figures, pointed me to a Japanese website that had the two figures pictured above available at a deep discount: King Kong (from the 1933 original, not from the more recent--and more inferior--remakes) and the Tyrannosaurus Rex that he beats the stuffing out of in one of the greatest action sequences ever filmed. And since my budget could handle such a relatively minor expenditure (I would get both figures for less than the price of one) and there were no toys on my Amazon wishlist, I went ahead and placed the order.

The T-Rex arrived early this week, but Kong (shipped separately for whatever reason) didn't show up until today. As soon as he did, though, they both went on display in their full black-and-white glory, much to the delight of my officemates.

They'll come home with me tonight when I toddle off for my three-day weekend and take their proper place atop my TV--from there, they'll greet one and all who dare come to La Casa del Terror (once I actually buy new furniture and clean the place, of course).

The month in Photos: April 2009

Sorry this is a day late. Ritz/Wolf Camera, where I used to get my photos downloaded onto CD, is closing its location in the Loop and has removed the Kodak machine designed for that purpose--I had to trek to the Wolf in the Clybourn Corridor to get it done.

Now that it's done, you go.